Pre-Hung Door Dilemma

lostinitJuly 9, 2014

I am in the process of buying a new door for the entry and we are looking at the big box stores as we want to DIY.

A couple of things one is the type of door we are looking at is steel and fiberglass, I've been told Fiberglass is the way to go. So we are leaning there perhaps more about R-value.

The other thing is when we had the door quoted it added a $500 charge for prefinish (Paint) on the jamb and door slab.

So my question is why so much for prefinish? What do they do that I can't do with a $30 gallon of paint and a couple of hours? We want it in Red so maybe a few coats may be needed but beyond that i am not sure why the extra charge.

Also if we opt to paint what is the proper procedure? Paint the Jamb/trim before or after install? Paint the door on a sawhorse?

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Prefinished would be factory painted in a spray booth using generally an autobody type of paint meaning you would get a finish much better than anything you or anyone else could lay on with a brush. That not with standing, in my opinion the last place on earth to buy an entrance door is at a box store. 99.9% of the time what they sell is crap and about the only place I would consider using one of there products is on a shed. At a minimum look at a higher end lumber (a real lumberyard) , a millwork specialty house or a window and door dealer. Provia, HMI, and Homeguard are some of the better brands that come to my mind at the moment. About the lowest quality on the food chain I would consider would be Therma Tru and even the quality of that brand has gone downhill (and TT not from a homecenter or Benchmark sold under the TT brand).

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 1:12PM
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You may get some good help in the Windows Forum... yes, doors are frequently discussed there.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 2:35PM
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You can DIY a door purchased from a real lumberyard.

Unless you hide the mounting fasteners(nails---screws are better) under the weather stripping, the resulting holes will need to be filled/smoothed before painting.

Red is just about the most difficult color to get even color---as you wrote, will take multiple coats, minimum of one coat of tinted primer and three of color.

Only advantage of that prefinish I can imagine is if it were automotive paint---that will last longer/look smoother than site applied paints even when site applied is sprayed.

I have two entry doors purchased at HD on my house(self installed)

No problems at all in 6 years.

Now, I am experienced in installing doors(have built jambs for slabs)---in fact installed our front door from the inside since the outside was trimmed under the siding and did not feel like removing siding around the door to get the metal siding trim covering the brickmold apart.

I've refinished very expensive commercial wood doors as well.

I chose steel wrapped doors. Less problems than fiberglas doors.

Have not painted mine. Still just as they left the factory.

I would not buy solid wood doors at a home improvement store. Those are seldom any good long term.

Installing a storm door with a steel clad door removes any drop in insulating properties versus a fiberglas door.

In hot weather areas in the US, south facing fiberglas doors can warp if covered with a storm allowing no escape for superheated air caught between the storm/entry door.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:42PM
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Seems the door size is about 29" or so. This means it's likely going to have to be a custom door. What does everyone think about Pella Doors? I looked at the other brands mentioned but cannot find any local dealers except Sears and I'll be damned if I go to Sears...

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Well, if that is your opinion on Sears then Pella would be in the same conversation in my opinion.. You have no real lumberyards or building supply centers near you?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:45PM
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I had a set of Thermatru fiberglass French doors installed that I absolutely love! I purchased then from a small town building supply store - price was about $200 cheaper that the quote I got from Lowes. Had to order them and it took about 2-3 weeks.

They installed perfectly and have no problems with them. They are now five years old.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 6:08PM
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There are a couple I can look at don't want to buy no scrap door that i have to mill and do a bunch of labor on. Want something that is ready to go out of the box. At most maybe throw some paint on it...

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 6:40PM
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Real lumberyards sell prehung doors generally of at least as good quality, if not much better than box stores with help that will have a clue of what they are doing you will no " buy no scrap door that i have to mill and do a bunch of labor on.".

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 8:33PM
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I've found Therma-Tru and Simpson so far with local folks. I don't have the expertise to poke around a lumberyard.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:36PM
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Therma Tru is ok, Simpson is good depending on who hangs the unit. The Therma Tru is not from Lowes is it?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:01PM
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Therma-Tru is from a few dealers close by that do custom and only sell doors and windows, not a big box. I live in WA State.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:50PM
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OK, Lowes sells TT but usually under the Benchmark name nd just wanted to be certain it was not from them. For a steel or fiberglass door TT is as low on the food chain as I would go and would really think twice about even using them for a front door. I would look for Provia, or HMI first.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:55PM
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HMI is not distirbuted beyond western pennsylvania. Provia has a Sears listed as a reseller but when I go to the website I get no hits.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 4:27PM
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FOund out the current door is Codel. They seem to have a good selection and have found the right size also. Has anyone used Codel before?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:46PM
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I see HD listed as a dealer in some areas of the country so that would tell me all I needed to know right there. They will average at best, and more than likely less than average.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:53PM
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I'm in Portland Oregon and considering a Codel fiberglass door, made in WA state. Parr Lumber sells them as does Home Depot. Supposedly they are better for the PNW because they have a composite edge perimeter whereas ThermaTru has wood. I have no idea if it's any better, but our door isn't exposed to rain. They do have an excellent selection and better color choices than TT imo. ProVia is listed as being sold by Sears.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:55PM
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Yep, Codel reps seem to be knowledgeable and the mom and pop seem to offer them all over. Provia lists sears but when I call 'em or go to the website I dont see the option for it. Plus in my case I am going for a slab so I have no choice but Codel.

Most doors should be judged by the install, quality of course should be considered. When HD wanted me to fork over $4000 for a door I told em to hit the bricks. Maybe in a few years when I can afford a decent door I'll consider it but until then no.

Plus our door is 30 inches, not 36 so our options are limited. Thanks to all for your help in this process.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 3:50PM
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